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App State partners with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to Prepare Equity-Focused School Leaders

Appalachian State University has partnered with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) as part of a five-year, $102 million initiative to prepare school principals who are capable of advancing equity in education.

The Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative, sponsored by the Wallace Foundation, supports eight large, high-needs school districts in building evidence-based principal pipelines—with the goal of developing principals who can advance each district’s own vision of equity.

“Strong principal pipelines benefit not only the schools, their districts and their students, but higher education institutions as well through informed practice and a network of support,” said Melba Spooner, dean of App State’s Reich College of Education (RCOE).

Research demonstrates that effective principals have a positive impact on students and schools, making successful investments in principals highly cost-effective. A recent review of evidence on principals identified the need to understand successful strategies for developing and selecting high-quality principals—those with the necessary skills and approaches to be effective, overall, and to be effective particularly for diverse students.

Each of the initiative’s district partnership teams will receive grants totaling $8.2 million over the five-year period, contingent on successful renewal each year. The work, which began this fall, will be led locally by each district in partnership with community organizations, leader preparation programs of two universities and the state education agency. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the state’s Department of Public Instruction join App State on the WS/FCS district partnership team.

Faculty in App State’s school administration program, housed in RCOE, will work closely with WS/FCS district leaders to provide coursework, resources and training that support the creation of an equity-centered leadership pipeline.

“We believe our partnership will positively impact the students in the district and will also add to the body of knowledge about effective leader preparation,” said App State’s Julie Hasson, assistant professor and school administration program director.

The eight school districts participating in the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative are located across the country, with WS/FCS being the only North Carolina district selected. The seven other districts:

  • Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland
  • Columbus City Schools, Ohio
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Fresno Unified School District, California
  • Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky
  • Portland Public Schools, Oregon
  • San Antonio Independent School District, Texas


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